The flowers that etc, Tra La, out at last, little miniature daffs raising their bright yellow heads like in children's books: one half expects them to have faces that start to smile, mouths that sing. One gorgeous day where I lunched outside, so Mimi could come too, with an old friend who told me I shouldn't write these things as it will interfere with my novel, but as my novel is interfered with anyway, what the hell.
That day blossomed into high adventure, the New York variety, where I went to the Italian Cultural Society, and met up with new friends, a brilliantly funny PR person, Morty, and his quietly intense associate, and we went to dinner at Swifty's, where we were sat down next to a couple who looked TV familiar. A little into the appetizer I connected: it was Joe Wilson who blew the whistle on yellow cake nuclear bullshit in NIger from the administration and his wife Valerie Plame, the outed CIA-ette. So our dinner was even more stimulating than if it were just us being festive and interesting, and when they asked for their check, I leaned over slightly-- we were elbow to elbow on a banquette, and thanked him. "For what?" he asked. "For what you did for our country." He looked benign but somewhat puzzled, and asked who I thought he was, and I told him. He said that wasn't who he was at all, and a few minutes later showed me his driver's license to prove it, but Morty is convinced that's who he was anyway, and if he was Joe Wilson is very good-natured in addition to sharp, to be so pleasant while keeping up his charade.
Yesterday was dark and cold again but today dawns softly bright so Mimi and I strolled around the pond to check the progress of the tulips I came to town to visit-- they are not blooming yet, but the shoots are higher, so I hope the color will come out soon so I can see them and go back home, which I really feel LA is now, since it's where I'm writing this novel which is, alas, the center of my universe except for Silas, and Mimi who follows me everywhere, something Silas is not permitted to do. I spoke to my old friend George d'Almeida who lives in Tuscany on a vineyard he was smart enough to buy for a pittance in the 60s, and he has stopped painting as he says there are enough d'Almeidas in the world, most of them in his studio, and he wants to spend as much time as he can with his wife, the usual excuse of politicians here. But they are a special couple, and I envy them their companionship, as I envied the young people across the way from my tiny balcony in a glassed in room where they were eating breakfast, she in a nightie, picking up whatever she was eating with dainty fingers, he in a dark jacket, slicing with knife and fork, forking it into his mouth with his left hand so I took them to be Europeans. I remembered as I watched them that 'companion' comes from the Latin which I never studied, 'to break bread with," and I miss breaking bread with, especially French bread, that I never broke with anyone, that whole epoch of my life being mostly solitary. My Scottish buddy Rosemary is living in Paris now, and I would envy her that, too, except I came across a poem I wrote that goes
It is the function of envy
To shorten the breath
And the vision
And blur the senses
So that all one can feel
With perfect clarity
So envy is out. But I did tell George, as I told my good friend and editor, that I would rather leave a truly good book than have lived a happy life, and that does seem to me to be foolish.
Back to the moment, which is really all we have, and should live to the full if we learned anything at all as apparently I haven't: the park this morning was radiant, not only with the aforementioned about-to-sing daffodils, but bluebells and a little purple flower that barely peeks out above the grass but the color is vivid and soothing and would serve for mindful meditation if i were wise enough to be doing it. I wiped down a bench on which a vanished lover had left a message inscribed in metal "Think of me when day turns to night and believe it will be all right." a good thing to have fixed my eyes on before I saw the headline in the Times about how hard it would be for anyone to pay for college, and thought of a new motto for W, "No grad left behind, except how are they going to get there, heh heh," and the adjacent column about GE having a bleak projection(did you know Vonnegut worked for them, and much admired the company even after having become disgusted with everything else ?) and that being a bellweather for our tragically blighted country thanks to U Know Who, or perhaps we should change it to W know Who.
But in the distance I heard the lovingly mournful bleat of the saxaphone player who seems always to be in the park in the morning, and he was playing "I Concentrate on You." I tried to follow the counsel of the song, "whenever skies look gray to me and people declare we're through,:" combining it with the lost loving advice inscribed on the bench and concentrate on who? My You is long gone, as is Cole Porter, who wrote that song, and I wonder if he would have rather have left a slew of great music and lyrics rather than live a happy life, and knew of course the answer would have been yes, as he had no choice.